With the release of the December employment report, completing the data for 2016, let's review the status of the 20th century Baby Boom, which was one of the most powerful demographic events in the history of the United States. The chart below illustrates the 19-year surge in births following World War II that stretched from 1946 through 1964.
The boom in births is all the more remarkable when we view the births-to-population ratio. The ratio had dropped dramatically during the Great Depression, which made the post-war boom in births even more dramatic. The regression drawn through the series helps us better appreciate the magnitude of the boom and the subsequent drop in births during the "stagflation" era of the seventies and early 1980s.
Boomers in the Workplace
The series of charts below show seven age cohorts of the employed population from 1948 to the present. We've used the non-seasonally adjusted 12-month moving averages, hence the start date of 1949. We've highlighted the Boomer years for each cohort with dotted lines.
Note that the bottom of the vertical axis is fixed at zero on all charts. The top is fixed at 35% for the three prime work age cohorts 25-54. The younger and older cohort axes have been optimized for observation of the trends.
Our snapshot for the teenage years, ages 16-19, was occupied by the Boomers from 1962 through 1983. The trend peaked in 1974 at 8.6%.